A Carolina Hurricanes blog with occasional news about the rest of the NHL.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Buffalo crushes Carolina

Carolina got completely and thoroughly beaten by the visiting Sabres on Tuesday night. The final was 4-0, but in all fairness, it should have been at least 11-0.

There were only brief bursts of energy by the Canes on the offensive side of things. Maybe for seven minutes in the second period, they looked good. Aside from that, the forwards were terrible. The game was characterized by sloppy passing, careless turnovers and unwillingness to pull the trigger on breakaway chances. Carolina spent the majority of the game in their own zone, and looked bad almost every time they managed to work the puck into the Buffalo zone. On the power play, they were completely awful. Obviously there were no conversions, and I don't even recall any decent scoring chances.

Defensively, the Canes weren't much better. The Sabres outhustled the Canes blueliners all night long and had odd-man-rush after odd-man-rush. On several occasions Carolina was caught in a position with no d-men in defensive position. I certainly don't mean to discredit Buffalo, but on at least two of the goals, Martin Gerber was simply left out to dry by his teammates.

Hopefully this kind of play not be seen in the playoffs.

Carolina played themselves out of the top spot in the East, but it's not that bad. Thanks to some other results, Montréal will be the #7 seed, and our first opponent. Granted, much of it was against Jose Theodore, but the Canes have enjoyed enormous success against the Habs this season. On paper, Carolina should win the series 4-0. However, the playoffs are a different beast, and I'm thinking it will go to six, with Carolina winning.

For the rest of the East:

  • I'm guessing that Ottawa will have early trouble with Tampa, but will win in 6.

  • New Jersey, who is hotter than the surface of the sun, is looking like "the team" right now. I'm predicting that they'll slow down a bit and will go the distance in a seven game series with the Rangers. I think that the Rangers will actually win that series, which will be full of exciting games.

  • All season long, Buffalo has owned Philly, and I think they'll take that series in five.

    After re-seeding the second round in the East would have Ottawa "hosting" the Rangers and Carolina "hosting" the Sabres. At this point, I don't want to speculate about those series.

    Carolina's second season will begin on Saturday with a 7:00 puck drop agains the Habs.
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